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A coup against Digong won’t succeed on target

/ 05:00 AM September 29, 2018

A ranking military officer says the rank-and-file soldiers will no longer obey mutinous officers.

It was in reaction to a recent statement by President Digong that some members of the military have joined forces with the opposition and the communists in a plot to unseat him.

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An Army colonel whom I won’t name for obvious reasons told me enlisted men will not join superior officers who will rebel against the government.

“They have learned bitter lessons from the failed coups during the administration of President Corazon Aquino and the Oakwood mutiny,” the colonel said.

According to the colonel, while the officers who led their men in the failed coups got reinstated and even promoted, the enlisted personnel were dismissed and demoted in rank, and many of them were not able to get back into the service.

Enlisted personnel are soldiers whose ranks range from private to master sergeant.

The enlisted men followed their superior officers and were left holding the bag after the failed coup and mutiny, the Army colonel said.

I vouch credence to the colonel’s statement.

Several years after the 1989 coup attempt, I asked then Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Arturo Enrile why officers who took part in the failed power grab were reinstated and even promoted while the enlisted men, who were just following orders, were dismissed or demoted.

I recall talking to an erstwhile master sergeant in the Marine Corps in 1995 in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, who was demoted to corporal (four ranks down) because he followed orders his superior officers.

Enrile’s answer to my question flustered me: “That’s how it is.”

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So, I asked a Marine sergeant a few days ago if he and his fellow enlisted men would follow orders from officers who would take part in a plot to overthrow the present government, and his answer was, “We have learned from the past.”

Among all the presidents the country has had, Digong is the most loved commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police.

Digong sleeps and dines with them in the field as in the case of the siege of Marawi. He condoles with the families of fallen soldiers and policemen. He visits wounded soldiers and policemen in the hospital. He is quick in promoting soldiers and policemen who showed exceptional bravery in combat. He has raised the salaries of policemen and soldiers to twice the old rates.

He salutes military and police generals even if he is their commander-in-chief, a gesture very much appreciated by them.

Director (two-star general) Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, chief of police of the entire Metro Manila, told this columnist he was embarrassed when during dinner with the President recently, Digong kept on addressing him “sir.”

“That was the first time that a superior, and the President at that, addressed me sir. I was so uncomfortable but pleased,” said Eleazar.

So, how could soldiers and cops turn against a leader whom they dearly love?

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TAGS: column, Digong, duterte, opinion
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